No time limit for Delhi LG to review assembly fate: SC
The Supreme Court Wednesday said Delhi Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung was not fettered by any time limit to revisit the presidential proclamation placing the Delhi assembly under suspended animation and make a fresh recommendation revoking it.
A bench of Justice R.M.Lodha and Justice Kurian Joseph said this as it recorded a clarification by Additional Solicitor General K.V.Vishwanathan that neither the governor nor the lt.governor were constrained by any time limit under article 356 of the constitution or section 50. (1) of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 to reconsider the presidential proclamation for making fresh recommendations on the fate of the state assembly.
While under article 356 the duration of president's rule in the States is six months, the same under section 50(1) of the Delhi act is one year.
While recording the clarification by ASG Vishwanathan which was supported by almost all the counsel including one representing the Bharatiya Janata Party, the court said that it "shall not be construed as direction to any authority or anyone" thereby implying that it was not a direction to Jung.
However, the position was resisted by senior counsel K.Parasaran appearing for Congress who said that there should be a minimum cooling period of two months before presidential proclamation is revisited or its validity challenged before the court.
Questioning the relevance of a cooling period, Justice Lodha wondered if it was to facilitate the 'Aya Ram-Gaya Ram' (defection and horse-trading) brand of politics.
"...should not Aya Ram Gaya Ram be eliminated. Nothing should be done Aya Ram becomes Gaya Ram and Gaya Ram to become Aya Ram," he said.
Parasaran however argued that if a cooling period was not insisted upon then such a situation may arise every two to three months.
While making the clarification on the powers of the lt.governor to make fresh recommendations, the court declined to ask Jung to call the BJP and know its stand as sought by Prashant Bhushan who appeared for Aam Aadmi Party.
The entire issue is rooted in the BJP's affidavit which said that after then chief minister Arvind Kejriwal submitted resignation of his government in February, the lt.governor never called them to inquire if they wanted to explore the option of forming an alternate government. The BJP said that had they been called, then they would have spelt their position.
On the other hand, Congress said that it had no intention of staking any claim to form the government.
Both the BJP and the Congress stated their position after apex court asked them whether they are inclined to stake claim to form government after the exit of Kejriwal.
The court is hearing the AAP's plea challenging the decision to place the Delhi assembly under suspended animation and not to dissolve it as recommended by Kejriwal government.
(Posted on 17-04-2014)